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Recap: 2018 World Retail Congress in Madrid

By FashionUnited


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“'The heart of the retail sector is not just changing, but sometimes the fundamentals no longer apply", said Ian McGarrigle, Chairman of the World Retail Congress on the level of change in today's retail market at the World Retail Congress which took place from April 17 to 19. He highlighted events such as Amazon acquiring US grocery store, Whole Foods, China maintaining an increase in prominence,while many retailers continue to reduce the number of their stores to emphasise the shifting retail market. FashionUnited shares some key quotes from the congress.

The key theme of this year’s congress was “Innovate to Win”. Retailers should increase their willingness to innovate across all sectors of the business in order to connect with today’s changing consumers. It requires a new willingness to taking risk, shaking up the business model, to discovering the art of connecting with customers through interesting products, standout service and stores; both on or offline. It is this exciting challenge that retailers face today. The World Retail Congress has pushed to provide the inspiration and direction to push the retail industry forward.

"We need to use technology to generate value for our customers and offer a seamless brand experience, whether online or offline," stated Pablo Isla, chairman of fashion company Inditex, as he described the importance of omnichannel in the industry. Isla goes on to stress the need for the industry to switch to circular fashion and used the example of Inditex collecting 19,000 tons of used clothing in eight countries to recycle them.

Iván Escudero Rial, Director of the RFID department of Inditex, a department that has been developing this radio frequency identification system for the last five years to implement on Zara garments says, "We know at all times what goes into the store, what goes into the warehouse and what goes on sale," says Iván, with the end goals "to improve the customer experience".

Frédéric de Narp, CEO of Bally stressed during the congress, "luxury is savor-faire and craftsmanship but it is also modernity and, above all, emotion. Our challenge is to combine precisely these two concepts. Something that Bally is developing through exceptional collaborations such as the one we did with the French graffiti artist André Saraiva."

Tips for selling to the upcoming generation of buyers, Generation X, was a topic of conversation presented by Carla Buzani, Managing Director of the professional trends portal, WGSN. "Transparency is one of the great challenges that fashion companies are going to face in order to win over these new clients." she advises.

Photo Credits: FashionUnited

World Retail Congress